Sunday, 17 April 2016


TITLE:  Unbecoming
AUTHOR:  Jenny Downham
PUBLISHER:   David Fickling Books
RATING:  5/5
SOURCE: Sent by 'The Guardian Books,' in exchange for an honest review.

This book review was first posted on The Guardian Children's Books Website, click here to see it.



Three women - three secrets - one heart-stopping story.

Katie, seventeen, in love with someone whose identity she can't reveal.

Her mother Caroline, uptight, worn out and about to find the past catching up with her.

Katie's grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of mysterious absence and 'capable of anything', despite suffering from Alzheimers.

As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to her. Rules get broken as allegiances shift. Is Mary contagious? Is 'badness' genetic?In confronting the past, Katie is forced to seize the present. As Mary slowly unravels and family secrets are revealed, Katie learns to live and finally dares to love.Funny, sad, honest and wise, Unbecoming is a celebration of life, and learning to honour your own stories. 

'Unbecoming' is a book that is totally unique to YA. There were so many different elements of the book that would appeal to all generations- as the book focusses on a daughter and a mother, Katie and Caroline. But there is also a focus on Katie's grandmother, Mary: as she battles with dementia. 

Katie kissed her best friend, (Esme), so becomes very worried that the whole school will find out about her sexuality, and that her strict mother will also find out. Caroline is also fighting her own troubles, as her husband left her for a younger woman, and Katie's brother, (Chris), is taking it hard. She is trying to hold all of the family together: and not letting it shatter into pieces.

Family was at the forefront of the novel, which is quite unusual in YA- so that was very refreshing to see, especially as nothing was sugar coated: allowing anyone of any age to relate to the novel in some aspects. 

Daughters, Mum's and Grandmother's could all read this novel, it isn't strictly tailored to a young adult audience. The whole plot was very enlightening, as it allows teenage readers especially to see what it was like growing up at different times: they could see what other people their age might go through, and possibly empathise with them in some way. 

Downham is definitely a writer that shows what real life is like: her character's are flawed, which everyone is- it makes her plot more realistic, forcing readers to grip on and not let go until the end.

'Unbecoming' is a perfect coming of age novel, which captures the essence of all of the difficulties
that you may encounter whatever age you are. It covered a variety of issues: I loved the fact that they covered dementia, which I haven't read before in YA. A 4/5 for me: as it took me a while to get into. but once you do, you will become so attached to everything in this novel, instantly.



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